Receiving the devastating news that death is on its way from a terminal illness surprisingly also gave the gift of life.
I was given 12 – 14 months to live and I had to decide, was I going to feel sorry for myself and wait around for my time to come or was I going to take charge? I decided to make my days count, I was now a YES man, no longer turning down opportunities. I wanted to live life to the fullest, whether that be my last few months or years!!!
I Consider myself Lucky….. not because I’ve got Albie. a Grade 4 Glioblastoma Multiforme GBM that’s trying to kill me but as I have had already had the opportunity for some great experiences in life. I consider myself quite outgoing and an adrenaline seeker already doing things like skydiving, white water rafting, flying loop the loops. The above quote includes a picture of me bungy Jumping.
I already have a World record, well sort of…. I was involved in a group effort that was verified but I’ve never seen a certificate!
Although, I was keen to make the most of things and to stop making excuses of why I couldn’t do things, I thought it was important to also have a plan, some structure for things I wanted to do or achieve, so I sat down to do my bucket list.
I found thinking of a bucket list was a lot of pressure, a bit like thinking of a honeymoon as you think it should be the best holiday EVER. To add to that pressure was also the consideration of what Albie may stop me from being able to do. A lot of the things I would like to do have a link to driving and we all know Albie has interfered with that!
Below is my original list, not in any particular order but I’ve also added an update if I’ve managed to achieve it, so this post is really a live post that will hopefully keep getting updated as I tick things off the list. Don’t forget to connect with me on Instagram to see what I get up to and how many of the below I can get done.
|Float in the Dead Sea||I love anything water based and am intrigued by this, so thought I should see it for myself|
|Live in Hawaii||Hawaii is my favourite place ever and whilst living there is a stretch and not a good idea with my significant medical needs, maybe living there for a week or 2 can count.||I still haven’t moved to Hawaii but I have managed to visit again and it didn’t disappoint, Maui is still somewhere I would love to call home.|
|Go to New York||New York has always been somewhere I wanted to see and has so much to offer.||Having an amazing wife helped with this one. As a Christmas surprise and to try and end the crazy 2015 year positively Gemma took me to New York. It was incredible to see it at that time of year and just what I needed to stay strong, whilst we enjoyed making memories together and proving life can go on!|
|Back pack Europe||When thinking of holidays we always seem to look further afield but I think Europe has a lot to offer that I haven’t seen. I think backpacking would be a fun way to see a lot.||Although, backpacking would be fun, I have spent a lot of time converting a camper van so I think this one will be amended to do it in the van. It’s not ideal that Albie will stop me helping with the driving but having the van as an option of travel will help IF Albie starts to make things worse and travel becomes harder.|
|See the Northern lights||This is an incredible event that I would love to see||We decided to go on a group ski holiday but with a couple of non-skiers in the group wanted somewhere where other things were on offer. We ended up going to Finland and one of the added bonuses was that I got to see the Northern Lights and even managed to capture a half decent photo… Awesome!|
|Visit Scotland||Scotland has so much to offer but I have always previously said it’s too far to go and see. Now I think it’s the time to make the effort.|
|7 new wonders of the world||Travel will be at the top of most people’s bucket list but I wanted a challenge. Originally I thought of visiting every continent but I am lucky enough to have already done a lot so after a visit to Rome, I came up with the idea of the 7 wonders.||Currently we have done 2 of the 7 – The Colosseum and Chichen Itza but we now have the focus to try and do the others.|
|See an F1 race||I’ve always been a Motorsport fan and as F1 is the pinnacle I wanted to experience it live with all the sounds and smells.||I have been very lucky and with the help of family and friends, both old and new, I have now been to a few races and loved every minute from the on track action to all the fan experiences, I certainly was in my element and thank everyone who helped make it happen.|
|Go to a big American sports game (NFL / NHL/ NBA)||The USA knows how to put on a show and I feel I need to go to one of the big games to really experience that atmosphere||I underestimated how sneaky Gemma can be and as part of her New York surprise trip was a ticket to see the Knicks play at Madison Square Garden. It was a great experience and a great game, I think spoilt is the word!|
|Play a round of golf||I am rubbish at most sports and not really a fan of golf but it is something I want to try. I like crazy golf if that counts and did once go to a driving range where after about 50 attempts did hit the ball and could see how you could get hooked.. it was a good feeling to get it right!|
|Learn to snowboard||I’ve always been more at home with board sports but failed miserably snowboarding on a school trip years ago, I now want another go at it.||It has been a steep learning curve but I have stuck with it and after a few holidays and lots of lessons and crashes I can just about hold my own on a board. I absolutely love it and am so glad that I gave it another go.|
|Learn to surf||Growing up in my teens my mum frequently took me to the beach to surf, although, I had a great time, I could never do it. I would like to learn to do it properly.||I decided if I was going to learn I might as well do it when I was in Hawaii!!! I did have a lesson, I’m still rubbish, but I can now say I’ve surfed the North Shore brah!|
|Snowmobiling||This just sounds like something fun to do…. Motorbiking on snow, who wouldn’t want to try this?||This was another great reason for going to Finland and we had a great snowmobile adventure. Unfortunately, you needed a licence to drive and Albie had ruined that for me but I did still have a great time as the passenger, although, I’m not sure Gem liked it so much that way round!|
|Mountain biking||I used to go mountain biking a lot, so this one is more a case of getting back into it rather than trying something new.||I have tried to go out a bit more and have had some great support / motivation from my mates but due to the treatments and recovery haven’t been able to do as much as I would have liked|
|Kitesurfing||This is similar to mountain biking, I just want to get back into it, maybe have some lessons, build my confidence back up and go out again.||This one hasn’t been as easy, so I think it may be time to hang up the kites and move on…. Sad times!|
|See the Dakar rally||I love the challenge of the Dakar and think the competitors are amazing for being able to take on such a challenge. They go to some amazing places and I think it would be great to get closer to the action.||This would be an amazing adventure but would take some organising and something Gemma would not be interested in. Maybe I’ll save it for a special treat if I ever drive again.|
|Go coasteering||I hate heights but I love water so scaling rocks to throw myself into the water seems like a good way to get my adrenaline going.||A group of friends convinced me it would be a good idea to do this in winter and it was! The water wasn’t too cold but it was quiet and we had a great time. We didn’t climb to heights where my body froze in fear but did go high enough where you had to be brave to throw yourself off, a good adrenaline boost.|
|See the Isle of Man TT||I like all sorts of racing but the TT seems unique in the way the riders push their bikes to the limit racing on the Isle of Man roads and how close spectators can get to the action.||After a bit of organising and different mates coming together from all over the Country we did manage to get out to the TT and had a great week watching bike racing and exploring the island.|
|Go on a kayak adventure||With my love of water and exploring, it seems logical that a kayak adventure would be good fun||Gemma and I did manage to go on a kayak adventure, I thought I had the short straw having to do all the paddling and steering whilst she was the wildlife spotter upfront, however, this plan completely worked out after she was the only person in our group to see a sea turtle!!|
|Fly boarding / jet packs||I’m not sure I’d have the co-ordination for this one but every time I see it, I always think I NEED to try that!||After going on about this for a while some family members booked me in. The instructor said the board is easier than the pack (not sure I believe that) so gave it a go and to my surprise was ok. It ticks all my boxes.. Water based, exciting, board sports and I had a great time. Now I just need to practice some tricks!|
|Drive Route 66||A lot of the things on my list are driving related as it is something I love to do. This one, although maybe a little obvious, it combines my love of driving, travel and exploring.|
|Ride a Harley||I was a late starter into the World of motorbikes as my parents didn’t approve but I did finally get a licence in my early thirties. I always liked the idea of a Harley, big, loud and comfortable.||One of my friends has a Harley and has taken me out on it, so although, I haven’t technically ridden one I’ve been on a ride with one which is close enough. There is something about cruising around on one that makes you feel special.|
|Drive a supercar||I have loved cars since I was a small boy and although I am happy knowing I will never be able to own one, I will still love to be able to drive one.||Amazingly, I found a company that are happy for you to drive their supercars without a driving licence!! I couldn’t believe it but you are sat next to an instructor the whole time. I explained my situation and was given the go ahead so had a great time driving Ferrari, Lamborghini, Porsche and Nissan supercars around a track. It was an amazing day out.|
|Drive a car on a race track||I love driving and the thought of pushing the limits and driving on a track does appeal, although, not sure Albie will let me perform my best||This was kind of ticked off by the supercar experience, although, that was more about driving the car around, where this one is about finding the limits and maximising both mine and the car’s performance. For this I was thinking more of a track day but Albie has definitely put a halt to that for the foreseeable.|
|Drive an f1 car||In my quest to enjoy driving and try once in a lifetime experiences, this came to mind. However, I am not sure it should be on the list as 1- I’m not convinced I’d even fit in one and 2- after watching them attempt it on Top Gear it doesn’t look like an easy challenge.||I don’t think this one should be included anymore, when I was driving the supercars I had to take my shoes off as my feet were too big for the pedals, I don’t think I’ll have a chance in the F1 car. I think I stick to supercars / GT / touring cars.
I do now have an F1 car om Gran Turismo so I’ll update soon on my performance.
|Do a charity car rally||Of all the things on my list this is the one that I have probably talked the most about in the past. The problem I’ve got though is I have NO mechanical skills and always saw my role as a driver, Albie has put a stop to that, so I would be as useful as a couple of sacks of potatoes!||I’m still on the look out for a crew with a big car that can afford to carry me with them.|
|Write a book||I very rarely read books and I don’t see myself as a writer so this is an odd one. To be honest this blog is probably stretching the limit of my ability but I feel like I had an idea for a book so thought it might be fun to write one.||Running on limited brain power makes things hard and this is quite far down the priority list at the moment.|
|Do a family tree||It’s funny how when you know you have limited time to move forward, you look backwards… I realised I know very little about my family history and felt embarrassed by that. I thought I should research a family tree to find out more.||I started to progress this and asked family for some help but I didn’t get very far, it is certainly not as easy to do as some companies would make out. Maybe I need to be featured on the TV program ‘Who do you think you are?’ and get the professionals in to help out!|
|Get fit||This is something I’ve always wanted to do, maybe this will give me the motivation to achieve it.||I came close to this one, found some motivation and even re-joined the gym. However, after a recurrence, I’m not sure exercise is my friend.|
|Learn the guitar||I’ve never been musical but love the idea of being able to pull out a guitar and jam around a camp fire.||I’ve decided, I’ll never be musical enough to do this, which is a shame but sometimes you have to realise things just aren’t for you.|
|Start a business||I have always wanted to start a business and work for myself but unfortunately have never had the idea to progress.||I still haven’t come up with an idea and as my fight goes on I realise how lucky I am to have the support of a company that I work for as this would be a very different experience If I was working for myself.|
|Have a family||I always knew that I wanted to have a family and it is just my luck that when the time was probably right (it’s never perfect) I had Albie instead!!|
|Achieve something worthwhile||I think everyone wants to think that their life has been worthwhile and that they have been able to achieve something. Knowing the end is near made me think about this but I haven’t got any answers yet.|
|Brew my own ale||This is a random one but that’s just me….. I know it makes no sense why try to bodge something together in my garage when I can go and get a beautifully crafted pint from the local pub.||I haven’t brewed my own yet but have continued my quest to taste others to find out what I like.|